After being left out of Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad, Folarin Balogun posted a cryptic social media message. The 21-year-old has been on loan at Ligue 1 side Reims from Arsenal, where he has scored an impressive 16 goals from 26 league games. Balogun is the youngest player in Ligue 1 history to score at least 16 goals in his debut season since 1961. He has also been a star for England’s Under-21 side, scoring seven goals from 13 matches, which left him with an outside chance of a first senior call-up.
However, Balogun was not named in Southgate’s squad for their upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine. Following the announcement, he took to Instagram to post a cryptic message amid his exclusion. He said: “In life go where you’re appreciated. Be easy.” Fellow strikers Harry Kane and Ivan Toney were selected as well as Marcus Rashford, who has the ability to play as a centre-forward.
England now run the risk of losing Balogun to America with the youngster born in New York, making him eligible to play for the United States’ national team. And having been born to Nigerian parents, he could decide to play for the African giants. Only two players have scored more than Balogun in France’s top-flight this term – Paris-Saint Germain star Kylian Mbappe and Lille marksman Joanthan David.
Balogun isn’t the only success story at Reims this campaign, with British-Belgian boss Will Still unbeaten in his 19 league games in charge. It remains to be seen what future Balogun has in north London, where he would be behind Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah and Leandro Trossard in the pecking order. Since his debut for Arsenal in October 2020, Balogun has scored twice in ten games in all competitions for the Gunners.
In conclusion, Balogun’s exclusion from the England squad has left many wondering what his future holds. With impressive performances in Ligue 1 and for England’s Under-21 side, it seems likely that he will have plenty of options when it comes to international football. However, it remains to be seen whether he will be able to break into Arsenal’s first team or whether he will need to move on to another club to continue his development.